“I can’t believe the difference in myself since coming to the hospice; I’m walking about and eating like a horse and I just feel 100% better. I feel like myself again.”
Joan Davies says staying at St Catherine’s has ‘opened her eyes’ to how hospices can help people to get back on their feet and enjoy a good quality of life.
The retired support worker has been cared for on the hospice’s inpatient unit for the last four weeks, and admits she was initially wary about what to expect.
“I’d never stepped foot in a hospice before, and I was a little unsure about coming to St Catherine’s,” she says. “But then I started to hear so many lovely stories from people about it and realised I needn’t have worried.
“Everyone is so kind and good here, I honestly can’t put into words how I feel about them, and how they’ve made me feel about myself. We have a laugh and they’ve worked with me, to help me achieve things I didn’t think were even an option anymore.
“I was in and out of hospital for a while; I was being fed through a tube and had a syringe driver which I had to carry around everywhere. I was feeling really down, everyone noticed a difference in me. I had no quality of life and I couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.
“But I see the doctors at St Catherine’s regularly and they actively listen to what I want. I told them I didn’t want the tube or the syringe driver anymore because they were giving me a lot of discomfort; I was in agony some days. They’ve altered my medication and I’m on a special patch now instead, and I feel much happier and much more comfortable.
“I’ve got some independence and strength back. I can actually do things I enjoy, like going to The Mill café with my daughters for a coffee. It sounds like a small thing, but it means a lot to be able to do normal things like that again.”
Joan, 75, was diagnosed with oesophagus cancer last year after experiencing indigestion-like pain. She was living with her daughter in Little Hoole, Preston, when her St Catherine’s Clinical Nurse Specialist – part of a team who provide specialist palliative care in people’s own homes – suggested she be referred to the hospice inpatient unit for more intensive round-the-clock pain and symptom management.
The mum-of-two, who has four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, is now preparing to be discharged from the hospice and move back to her daughter’s – but she will miss the puddings she’s become accustomed to from the St Catherine’s kitchen!
“I didn’t realise I had such a sweet tooth! I didn’t have an appetite at all when I first got here, but now all the staff know me for my love of crumble and custard! All the meals are delicious, but I especially look forward to the puddings.”
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